History of Sevenoaks

History of Sevenoaks

The name "Sevenoaks" originated from the Saxon word 'Seouenaca', a name given in about 800 A.D. to a small chapel near seven Oaks in Knole Park. Sevenoaks was historically part of the Great Manor of Otford, held by the Archbishops of Canterbury.

The importance of Sevenoaks grew from the merging of the two main roads from London and Dartford into one main route heading south through the Weald to the coast. It was therefore a suitable venue for a market and this was established in the mid 13th century. Sevenoaks has remained a market town to this day

The famous Sevenoaks School was founded in 1432 and is generally considered to be the oldest secular school in England

In 1456 the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop Bourchier, purchased the 100 acre estate of Knole and built the great house which lies to the eastern side of the town. This was later appropriated by Henry VII and then passed on to Queen Elizabeth I who gave it to her cousin Thomas Sackville.

The parish church of St Nicholas, one of the oldest churches in sevenoaks, dates from the 13th to the 15th century. Poet John Donne served as rector of St Nicholas from 1616 to 1631

Sevenoaks is home to the Vine cricket ground, which may well be the oldest cricket ground in existence, as a match was reported here in 1734.

The town's motto is "Floreant Septum Quercus" - " May the Seven Oaks Flourish "